Australia, France, UK Traffic Cameras Under Fire
Speed camera assaults on rise in Australia, French sticker attack costs thousands in revenue, UK red light camera trashed twice in one night.
Motorists around the world are finding new ways to express displeasure with automated ticketing machines. At around 2am on May 5, vigilantes set fire to a red light camera in the Tolworth suburb of London, England according to This is Local London. Authorities discovered the blaze and had the fire put out before significant damage was done. So an hour later, the vigilantes returned and set it on fire a second time. Although the attacks were typical insofar as they used gasoline-filled tires, targeting red light cameras is relatively rare. Independent US studies have documented an increase in accidents where red light cameras have been used, but no similar independent studies have been conducted in the UK.
In South Australia, the drivers of speed camera cars are reporting an increase in "assaults." In some cases, bricks, rocks and other objects have been hurled through the windows of the automated ticketing vehicles and the drivers' union is demanding action, the Adelaide Sunday Mail reported. More commonly, however, the assaults are verbal, with 29 insults hurled in 2008 compared to just one in 2005. Projectiles tossed at speed cameras increased to four in 2008 from three rocks in 2005.
"I've had bottles thrown at me, I've had my car rammed and one guy hit me a couple of times and took my windows off," a former speed camera employee told the Sunday Mail.
Police officials are also upset that last year, on seventeen occasions, photos were taken of the speed camera car driver.
In Paris, France vigilantes covered a speed camera in Continental-brand tire stickers on April 29, and the device was not repaired until May 12. MotoMag estimates that drivers saved 120,000 Euros (US $160,000) while the camera was unable to issue citations.